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Transcript: The 11th Hour, 1/12/22

Guests: Jackie Alemany, Joyce Vance, Peter Baker, Mike Murphy, Eugene Robinson, Robert Wachter


1/6 Committee requests interview with House GOP leader. McCarthy refuses to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee. McConnell blasts Biden speech on voting rights. Biden meets with Senate Dems tomorrow on voting rights. Illinois hospitals overwhelmed amid Omicron surge. Boris Johnson apologizes for party during lockdown.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MINORITY LEADER: President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Republican Leader of the House and Senate get tonight`s last words. THE 11TH HOUR starts now.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Day 358 of the Biden administration. The day the lawmakers investigating the Capitol riot set their sights on what may be their most significant target yet.

Late today, the January 6 Committee as the top House Republican and close Trump ally Kevin McCarthy for a voluntary interview.

The House committee`s six-page letter to McCarthy asks for details about his communications with Trump during and after the riot. The lawmakers also want to know about McCarthy`s contact with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days that led up to January 6.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D) MISSISSIPPI JAN.6 SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIR: He`s made significant public statement about what occurred on January 6th, and we`d like to hear from him. He gave a statement on the floor about President Trump bearing some responsibility for what occurred.

QUESTION: If he doesn`t cooperation with the voluntary request would you subpoena him?

THOMPSON: Well, let me say we`ll consider it.


RUHLE: Well, tonight, McCarthy issued his own statement saying he will not comply with the committee, "I have concluded not to participate with the select committees abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward.

But here`s the thing, this past May, McCarthy was singing a very different tune.

REPORTER: Would you be willing to testify about your conversation with Donald Trump on January 6th, if you were asked by an outside commission?


REPORTER: You would?


RUHLE: He didn`t hear that? He said, sure. And here`s some of that floor speech Chairman Thompson referred to that was made one week after the insurrection.


THOMPSON: The President bears responsibility for Wednesday`s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action of President Trump except to share responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President Elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.

What we saw last week was not the American way. Neither is the continued rhetoric that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president. Let`s be clear, Joe Biden will be sworn in as president united states in one week because he won the election.


RUHLE: Yes, that was clear. But then things change for Kevin McCarthy just weeks after the attack, weeks after that floor speech. He headed down to Mar-a-Lago for what sure looked like a friendly-cosy meeting with Trump. Here`s what one January 6 committee member said tonight about McCarthy`s refusal to cooperate.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) MARYLAND HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 6: He`s hiding from the Trump base. He also may be trying to hide the fact that he was implicated in the political coup dimension of the day`s activities. That is he may have been totally with the program in terms of trying to get Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes.


RUHLE: McCarthy is now the third Republican congressman to be asked and to refuse to cooperate with the Committee along with Ohio`s Jim Jordan and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

Today the Committee did meet virtually with former Trump White House official Kayleigh McEnany. She was originally scheduled to give her deposition back on December 3, and while she did participate, there`s no word on what she actually said.

Meanwhile, the current President is continuing his fight for the right to vote. Tomorrow, Biden heading to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Democrats. Earlier this evening, Vice President Harris made it clear all of them need to back the White House when it comes to passing voting rights legislation.


KAMALA HARRIS, (D) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I will not absolve the 50 Republicans in the United States Senate from responsibility for upholding one of the most basic and important tenets of our democracy, which is free and fair elections and access to the ballot for all eligible voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about Senator Manchin? What about Sinema? I

HARRIS: I don`t think anyone should be absolved from the responsibility of preserving and protecting our democracy, especially when they took an oath to protect and defend our Constitution.


RUHLE: But this afternoon, the Senate`s GOP leader escalated the battle over voting rights in his own scorching floor speech which attacked Joe Biden and the possibility of any filibuster reform.



MCCONNELL: 12 months ago, this president said disagreement must not lead to this union. But yesterday he invoked the bloody disunion of the Civil War, the Civil War to demonize Americans, who disagree with him. He compared, listen to this, a bipartisan majority of senators to literal traders. How profoundly, profoundly unpresidential. The President`s rant yesterday was incoherent, incorrect, and beneath his office.

You could not invent a better advertisement for the legislative filibuster than a president abandoning rational persuasion for pure demagoguery. 52 Senators and millions of Americans are racist. Unless he gets, whatever, he wants, is proving exactly why the framers built the Senate to check his power.


RUHLE: Well, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, he`s not listening to that and hopes to jumpstart the process by bringing the stalled voting bills to the floor and force a confrontation over the Senate`s rules by this Monday. This bitter debate over Voting Rights Forum is just one of the many challenges facing this White House, the administration trying to help schools stay open during the Omicron surge by now promising 10 million free COVID tests every month. Federal officials are also looking at a new program to offer high quality masks to everyone in the United States. Then there`s the country`s still soaring inflation problem, prices rose at the fastest pace in four decades over the last year. That is up 7% from the same period a year ago.


BRIAN DEESE, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: I think we`ve seen a number of unanticipated outcomes when it comes to prices what we have -- what we have said consistently focused consistently is that this is a global phenomenon. It is connected to the pandemic. And the issues that has raised. Certainly, the supply chain challenges that have evolved over the course of time through the Delta variant and over the course of the fall, have been issues that we`ve had to go and tackle head on. But I think that the nomenclature aside, we find ourselves in a position now where we`re looking forward and most forecasters are projecting that the price increases will moderate.


RUHLE: As the White House juggles all of these issues, there were some more troubling numbers out. The latest Quinnipiac Poll today puts Joe Biden`s approval at just 33%. That is a new low for his presidency.

With that, let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Wednesday night, Jackie Alemany, political reporter for The Washington Post and author of the papers morning newsletter The Early 202. Former U.S. Attorney, Joyce Vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor and calls to the podcast Sisters in Law. And Peter Baker joins us, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times.

Jackie, I want to share with Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on January 6, as the riot was happening on Capitol Hill.


MCCARTHY: This is so un-American. I condemn any of this violence that`s happening in the Capitol right now. I`ve already talked to the President. I call them, I think we need to make a statement. Make sure that we can calm individuals down.


RUHLE: So, what`s the goal? Make him testify, play that tape. Show the audience what he said at that time? And compare that to his absolute silence now?

JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Stephanie. Kevin McCarthy has certainly had an evolution since January 6, and it`s happened to be a very public one that`s played out before the cameras. But I think lawmakers on the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection are currently and still debating how they`re going to proceed in getting some potentially key people to testify as they wrap up the final phase of their investigation and before they pivot to the public phase.

But, you know, it`s not just Kevin McCarthy that they need to get to compel to comply with the investigation in some way. It`s also Congressman Jordan and Scott Perry as well. These three lawmakers are currently again under discussion with the committee and how if they do ultimately end up subpoenaing them, how they will ultimately actually enforce that subpoena, which is uncharted territory and lawmakers are being cautious and careful so as not to unnecessarily start a fight in order to get this information that they do really need. And that`s what they`ll say privately, if they do want to get a full comprehensive picture of the former president`s mindset in the days leading up to on January 6, and after January six.


These are three guys who were in close touch with the White House, were conduits back and forth down Pennsylvania Avenue, as lawmakers and this political coup, as Jamie Raskin referred to it as we`re trying to come up with ways to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

RUHLE: Joyce, let`s remember, Hillary Clinton testified about Benghazi for 11 hours, voluntarily. And all these big tough guys, they`re hiding under their desks. We don`t know what they`re hiding. But what does the committee, what can the committee do to pull these boys out from under their desks and get some answers?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It`s uncharted territory, the committee has some options. Of course, they could take the path that they took with Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows and refer an object failure to cooperate to the Justice Department for prosecution. But it`s possible that DOJ could decline to get involved in a dispute between members of Congress. And so ultimately, the committee may have to consider whether their internal mechanism, their ethics mechanism for dealing with members of Congress is something that could be used in this sort of a setting. That`s I think, why we hear -- heard Bennie Thompson, who`s been very firm, in talking about enforcement of subpoenas and other areas, really stepped back from saying that he would obtain a subpoena here, but there`s an additional criminal question lurking here, Stephanie, maybe more than one.

And we see -- we see this evolution that McCarthy undergoes. And it`s very clear that he says one thing very firmly before he meets with Trump, and another thing after he meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, just before the Senate impeachment trial, listening to that with prosecutors ears, I immediately want to begin asking questions and look into whether there`s been obstruction of a witness ahead of that impeachment process. And whether McCarthy is someone who`s a co-conspirator, in essence in an obstruction scheme, or whether he wants to position himself as a victim and a witness. I think there`s a lot more to come here.

RUHLE: Peter, this White House is trying to help Democrats hold on to the majority in the House. This committee is largely Democrats, with a couple of pretty unpopular Republicans, if Democrats lose the House, what`s it going to be like, for the Biden administration to work with Congress?

PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that`ll be the end of his legislative agenda for this term of his presidency. If he runs for another term, and they could take back the House, that will be one thing, but there won`t be any major legislation, if President Biden loses his party, loses the House in the fall, nothing that unless there`s some sort of unforeseen, you know, emergency that brings the parties together, as COVID did for a short time. It`s hard to see any agenda going through.

So, it`s everything is on the line here. That`s why this midterm is so important. Here we are in the beginning of this election year, with the President and in as you point out with that poll, and maybe an outlier may be on the low end of other polls, but it`s pretty, you know, big red flag for this White House, you`ve got a weak president, who is not helping his party at a time when they need his help desperately. They only have a 50/50 split in the Senate, one seat, they lose in the fall, they`re done. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, again, they only have I think, a three-vote margin in the House. They lose those, boom. They`re in the minority. And you have speaker Kevin McCarthy, and he`s already made clear, he`s going to take retribution if he becomes speaker. He said, in the last few days, he`s got a kickoff. Democratic Congressman like Adam Schiff, and others who angered him off of key committees. So, this is a really toxic moment on the Hill where members are going out each other the parties are in, you know, full throated combat with each other. And where we had is, you know, it will be determined by the election of fall.

RUHLE: OK, but then Peter, shouldn`t the President`s message to Democratic members in Congress help me, help you, they need his help in holding on to power and he needs their help in getting any more of his legislative agenda done?

BAKER: Well, you can certainly argue that they haven`t helped him by blocking his, you know, Build Back Better social program that has been, you know, the singular failure of this administration legislatively --

RUHLE: And voting rights.

BAKER: I think he counted on the boast. He had everything packed into this one program, essentially a whole new deal, a whole great society and one piece of legislation and the fact that it seems to be stuck, if not completely dead is, you know, is a major failure on the part of the Democrats to deliver what they promised to do last year, and if they don`t figure out a way out of that, that probably the next few weeks or months they`re not going to have a chance because it`s going to go down later in the year we get the harder that becomes and again at this midterm changes the majority then that`s over.


RUHLE: Jackie, McCarthy threatened to strip January 6 Committee Member, Adam Schiff from House committees, should Republicans win control of the House, and he becomes Speaker? I want to share what Schiff said about him tonight.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA JAN. 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: McCarthy is a very weak leader, he really is dependent on the QAnon conference or based within his conference. And he, you know, as he demonstrated, with capitulation to Trump, after the insurrection, will do whatever he thinks will advance his ambition. That`s just - that`s what we`re dealing with. And I think we recognize it, and we`re just going to have to figure out the best way of securing his cooperation. And barring that, you know, whether there`s an adequate Plan B.


RUHLE: What is McCarthy`s standing right now, among Republicans, with Trump, when he`s going through the political calculations for himself, has this all add up?

ALEMANY: Yeah. So, I think from a reporting perspective, if we take a step back here, it`s hard not to look at the trajectory -- his trajectory over last year and the sort of, you know, shifting and changing public statements that he`s made, and look at some of his actions and feel like he`s done what`s most politically expeditious for him to stay in power and manage what has become, quite frankly, unruly House conference for him. He has called it deemed it tried to sort of label it as, you know, he is just has a big tent party, and he`s trying to keep all of his members happy. And I think to some extent, you know, he is getting some praise from people within his party, but people on who are a little bit more moderate, and people who are all the way on the right, the more extremists Maga caucus, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar types. Neither of those camps are particularly thrilled with him.

And I think that`s why we`ve seen him, again, act in certain ways that have been sort of mushy when it comes to actually, you know, calling things like they are. But I do think that he is looking towards November midterms that all signs are pointing towards Republicans in the House, taking back the majority, and he`s doing everything he can to protect a future speakership and maintain that power.

RUHLE: Joyce, despite what McCarthy said months ago, it`s really no surprise that he`s not playing along now. Does the committee`s request, reveal anything about what their strategy is?

VANCE: The committee`s request is really detailed, Stephanie. It provides a lot of background for why they want to listen to what McCarthy has to say if he`ll share it with them. One of the most interesting pieces in the letter that they sent to McCarthy, in light of recent developments in the news is this request to talk with him about his conversation with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in advance of January 6, and the committee clarifies that by saying they`re trying to understand what the former president was doing in the run up and what the plan was for January 6. It`s fair game now and certainly legitimate now that we`re seeing this news about fake slates of electors being submitted in at least seven states with this appearance of cohesion because each of those submissions looks remarkably similar. It would be legitimate for the committee to talk with McCarthy about that, whether he was aware of that, whether that was a conversation at the White House, and whether there was any sort of planning or what prosecutors would call a conspiracy in that regard in the run up to January six, that`s very serious, that involves, at a minimum selecting or submitting these false sorts of statements to the government, there could be a lot of implications of that conduct. And McCarthy could be fairly questioned about that.

RUHLE: Peter, how`s this White House going to address this drop in his approval rating, right? They`ve got some areas that are wins, we have a winning economy, we are clearly in recovery. Unemployment is low. All of these people quitting jobs mean they can go out and get better ones. But then we got inflation numbers today, prices are soaring on everything from meat to cars, to homes. And that`s got the American people feeling really lousy about money. If they don`t feel good about money, despite a good economy how does Biden tell his story?

BAKER: Yeah, it`s a really interesting conundrum, right? Because in so many ways, economy is good, as you rightly point out, Stephanie, that the market saw, you know, set more records in in Biden`s first year than they did in Trump`s first year. Growth is, you know, is booming here compared to what has been in years. Wages are going up. There`s so many things that are obviously positive, but that inflation thing has got a lot of people worried, it`s higher than it`s been in almost 40 years. And that hits a lot of people right in the pocketbook in a way that they really see it and they go to the stores right now and they`re seeing some empty shell because the supply chain issues is created obviously a sour mood and the president of United States whether it`s his fault or not, is going to be held responsible for that. That`s the way it always worked.


Now, the positive possibility for the president is some of this begins to change in the next few months. If there`s some, you know, pulling back of inflation, if the Omicron wave crests and begins to recede and they get their handle on testing and some of these other issues are on the virus, you can see, you know, the scenario where things get better by spring and things are looking up for Democrats. But right now, they`re not feeling it right now. The public is feeling quite down about things, very frustrated with where things are going. They`re taking out on the president.

RUHLE: Things are dark and cold on this January evening. Jackie, Joyce, Peter, thank you all so much. We`re going to leave it there.

But coming up, the top Senate Republican is not budging. No surprise on voting rights. So, can Democrats alone get the job done?

And later, one doctor is revealing story of trying to test and care for a family member was COVID. THE 11TH HOUR is just getting underway on this Wednesday night.


RUHLE: As we mentioned, the President is meeting with Senate Democrats tomorrow to underscore the urgency of voting rights reform. All 50 Democrats in the Senate would need to vote in favor and without a change to the filibuster, they`ll need support from any Republicans, something Senator Tammy Duckworth says will not be happening.


SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D) ILLINOIS: To come up with Republican with the vote, yes, I`ve given up on it because they`ve told me privately that voting rights is a red line for Mitch McConnell that they cannot cross that line.


RUHLE: We welcome back to this evening. Program Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist for the Washington Post and Michael Murphy, Veteran Republican Strategist and Co- Director of the Center for Political Future at the University of Southern California. And, of course, the co-hosts of the Hacks on Tap podcast.


Mr. Murphy, Joe Biden delivered two very powerful speeches within the last week, both taking serious jabs at former President Trump. What does he call them? The defeated former president that`s his new name for him. What do you think about this?

MIKE MURPHY, VETERAN REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh, I liked it, you know, on Hacks on Tap, right. And I talked about this all the time. Biden needed offence, you know, the narrative of last year was the left wing of the Republican -- excuse me of the Democratic Party, you know, slapping the president around log jam internal fighting, is finally framed it up for the election year, and he`s gone after the orange menace in the room, so to speak by going after the president. Now, it`s not the only thing you can do. But in an election year, you shift the picking of simple fights that you hope will lead to a good outcome on election day. So, I think feisty Joe is a lot better than sidelines Joe. So, if I were a Democrat, I`d be quite happy about the shift in tactics.

RUHLE: Eugene, I haven`t heard any changes out of Sinema or Manchin`s camps. Yet Chuck Schumer wants to bring this to a vote. Is he bluffing? Or could he maybe have the votes for some sort of carve out? Because if Republicans, if they can restrict voting rights all over the country with a simple majority, why shouldn`t Democrats be able to protect those rights with a simple majority? To me fair is fair. What I am missing.

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Fair is fair, but we`re talking about the Senate.


ROBINSON: If you were talking about Senate, you heard Mitch McConnell going on and on today about how Democrats were smashing the Senate and I laughed, he should be a stand-up comic. If this is the guy who smashed the Senate by refusing for almost a year to get Merrick Garland even a hearing and then rushing through the Barrett nomination that was smack -- that smash the hallowed traditions of the Senate. But leaving that aside for a second, I haven`t heard -- unlike you, I`ve not heard anything from Manchin and Sinema that particularly makes me think they`ve changed their minds. However, there is this new idea that Democrats have a have a way of getting the bills, at least debated in the Senate, and it involves us sort of, you know, switch back pass around through the House again, and then it comes in, and then they have to debate it. It still faces a filibuster at the end of that debate. And Republicans probably will filibuster it. And then we`ll see that`s when the rubber will hit the road. And again, maybe at that point, there will be a change of heart. But there`s no reason -- particular reason to think there will be at this point.

RUHLE: Michael, does Biden`s vocal support for changes in the filibuster mean anything? Obama now saying he supports it.

MURPHY: You know, I think it means something again, in the rhetorical fight of the election year. But the Democrats keep making in my view two mistakes strategically. One, they pick big fights, they don`t have the votes to win. The majority they have is kind of an illusion, they have a partisan majority. They don`t have an ideological majority. And beyond that, when they do go for something, they go too big, you know, which puts their conservatives their Manchins and their Sinemas are their conservative Democrat senators in a vise and creates these problems.

You know, I thought Manchin was on a good track with his compromise bill on voting rights that was not as large as this one. This one is really large. I think there`s some flaws in it. I had wished the Republicans had embraced the Manchin thing, because there is now and as a conservative, that`s hard for me to say, but there are bad actors out there in some states. So, we got to -- you know, federalize some things to guarantee elections.

We also have to pass the Electoral College Reform Act, and I probably mangled the title, but it`s the most important thing and it could pass. Because right now, the way we count the electoral college is incredibly antiquated and full of problems that can be exploited by bad actors. And we have some bad actors lurking around. So, they go too big, and they don`t have the votes.

If I were them, I would focus more on having the issue to take to people to win the election to get power than the line of Biden for another loss in the Senate, which is what this big bill where I think he`s heading.

RUHLE: Democrats are listening? Michael Murphy just said, get small, get strategic, get it done.

Gentlemen, please stay with us. We`re going to take a quick break. When we come back, he`s often cast as the leader of the GOP, making his moves a little more consequential with the midterms now months away. We`re talking DJT.




DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This election was a rigged election.

STEVE INSKEEP, NPR: Why is it that you think that the vast majority of your allies in the United States Senate are not standing behind you? We did have that statement by Mike Rounds.

TRUMP: Because Mitch McConnell is a loser. And frankly, Mitch McConnell if he were on the other side, and if Schumer were put in his position, he would have been fighting this like you`ve never seen before. He would have been fighting this because when you look at it, and this is long, is a long way from over.


RUHLE: Yeah, that was Donald Trump, 300 days until the midterm election and the de facto leader of the Republican Party, picking public fights with its elected members. Trump calling McConnell a loser.

Shortly after that exchange, Trump abruptly ended the call, hang up nine minutes into the interview that had been scheduled for 15.

Still with us to discuss, Eugene Robinson and Mike Murphy. Eugene, before Trump dumped the call. He was again re-litigating the 2020 election. Listen.


TRUMP: How come Biden couldn`t attract 20 people for a crowd? How come when he went to speak in different locations, nobody came to watch? But all of a sudden, he got 80 million votes. Nobody believes that.

INSKEEP: If you`ll forgive me, maybe because the election was about you.


RUHLE: To Steve`s point at the end 2020 with absolutely a referendum on Trump and voters rejected him. If he insists on making 2022 about him and his grievances, won`t that hurt Republicans? The big winning moment for Republicans was Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, and he didn`t go anywhere near Trump.


ROBINSON: Yeah. And so -- yeah, Donald Trump makes 2022 about him. That is a net positive for Democrats. No question about it. Look, you know, Democrats got won the majority in the Senate, because Donald Trump gave them to some Senate seats in Georgia, that they, frankly, were not anticipating when there`s everybody bring in the bag, but, but Donald Trump gave it gave it to him. He`s already said that Democrats, Stacey Abrams would be a better governor of Georgia than the incumbent Republican Brian Kemp. So, if that`s the way he`s going to intervene in these elections, then I think all bets are off, and all these predictions about Democrats are going to get crushed. And, you know, because they`re always having duh, duh, duh. Yeah, but that was pre-Trump. Let`s, you know, don`t -- all bets are off, all bets are off.

RUHLE: Michael, earlier today, I spoke with a Republican that Trump hates even more than he dislikes McConnell, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who of course, is on the January 6 committee, and I asked him about his own place within the party, watch this.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS: I`m going to maintain my Republican identity. I`m a Republican, I`ve been one since I was six. And I`m going to fight for the soul of the party. But yeah, I`m not going to sit here and pretend like that it certainly feels like I`m, you know, a member of the Republican family. There`s a lot of people that are silent that I think agree with me, we just need people to speak out because again, to tell you a silence is complicit. And silence will allow the conspiracy to infect us party in a way, you know, way worse than we`ve even seen now, which is frightening.


RUHLE: OK, to me, the news there is that he was a member of the Republican Party at age six. I really wish he knew more about baseball as a child, but he`s retiring after this term. Are they -- really that six years old, Republican, he`s retiring after this term, do you think they`re going to be political repercussions for the complicity he`s talking about, all those people just going along with Trump`s big lie?

MURPHY: Well, first of all, I waited until I was 10, you know, I wanted to get behind Nixon. Look, he`s a hero, he`s a friend of mine. But he and Liz Cheney are heroes for the courage they have, you know, it`s not like we`re asking these guys to land on the NCL Beach, we`re just asked him to the oath they took and defend the Constitution, you know, but apparently, the bet they`re making being cynical and afraid, is that in the short term in their primaries, if they`re not with Trump, they`re going to lose. And there`s plenty of evidence that`s true. So, they`d rather you know, kind of look the other way at least half of them and keep getting the cheap haircuts and the House barber shop.

It`s a -- it`s really grim. In the long term, I think and hope because I`m in the -- I`m in the small war boat with him that Adam Kinzinger and others in the party are right, he is right, because I hear it all the time, from people I`ve worked for as a political consultant of the year Tommy. God, I wish, you know, you`re right. I wish I could speak like you. But I get murdered back home and my primary. So, we`ll wait and see.

In the short term, it`s rough for those folks, because Trump does have a grip and about 60%, 65%, depending on where you are the primary vote. So, you know, he`s got that kind of -- that kind of leverage, and that will lead people to do either cowardly or politically stupid things. And that`s, what we`re seeing right now. With the bigger problem being they forget their duty to uphold the rule of law, which you think would be the first thing members of Congress think about every day?

RUHLE: You`d thank. Eugene, do you think all this infighting within the party is going to impact the midterms and beyond?

ROBINSON: I do think it`s going to impact the midterm. I mean, I don`t know what`s going to happen to the Republican Party, to tell you the truth. I really don`t. I once knew what the Republican Party was. I knew what it stood for. It fucked the last election, the 2020 election without a platform without, without a statement of what it believes and what it wants to do. Except, gee, were we follow Trump that was -- that`s what the party is about right now. And good luck with that. I mean, good luck with that. Because what direction is Donald Trump going to take you when? I don`t think it`s a good.

RUHLE: Oh, we`ll soon find out. Eugene Robinson, Mike Murphy, 10 years old, joining the Republican Party, again, learn about baseball kids.

Coming up, after days of tweeting bad news, our next guest offers some optimism about Omicron when 11th Hour continues.




DR. NGOZI EZIKE, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR: 9% of hospital ICU beds are available in Illinois right now. And that`s an ICU bed for anything COVID or non-COVID. Every hospital bed occupied by someone with COVID who was not vaccinated, potentially could have averted that hospitalization. More than 7100 people are in the hospitals across Illinois with COVID right -- COVID-19. And the vast, vast majority for 80% are unvaccinated.


RUHLE: Unvaccinated, with the Illinois public health director describes it`s happening around the country while a new study finds Omicron causes fewer hospitalizations, the U.S. healthcare infrastructure is struggling.

In California, asymptomatic COVID positive medical workers are now being told to return to work immediately. And some healthcare professionals including our next guest, are also wrestling with the emotional toll of the virus hitting their own homes. We welcome back to the 11th Hour Dr. Bob Walker, a Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He is one of the Bay Area`s leading experts on COVID-19.

Bob, your fully vaccinated son contracted COVID, walk us through what that experience was for you and the lessons you learned. You`re the expert yet it was a crisis.

ROBERT WACHTER, CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO: Yeah, thanks, Stephanie. It was ordinary in that it`s he, the experience he has had is the experience that 10s of millions of people are having. But I`ve been studying and tweeting about this for now two years and having it hit a family member, as it`s hit so many was very different. First of all, I got to experience the uncertainty of decision making. You do a test the first day, it`s negative. What does that mean? Does he have it, does he not have it, trying to find a test. I went to three or four different pharmacies to find a test, couldn`t find one, should he take medications? I`ve studied this.


Well, I`m not sure. And then the emotion kicks in and competes against the data. And so, one morning, the day after he first got sick, I called him up and called him at nine o`clock, and he didn`t answer. Called him at 10 o`clock, didn`t answer. And I went into his apartment to find him and make sure that he was still breathing. And that wasn`t rational. I knew his chances of dying were incredibly small. But when it`s your family member, the emotions are very difficult, and the uncertainties are really staggering.

RUHLE: Overwhelmed by uncertainty, and emotion. Amazing, you study this, think about what it`s like for the rest of us. I want to share a tweet that you posted. That raises a really important point about the virus. You wrote this. A, everybody will be exposed to Omicron. B, everyone will get Omicron. They are different. A, promotes appropriate caution until the surge ends. Boost, n95, outdoor more than indoor. B, promotes counterproductive behavior as hospitals are overwhelmed. Biggest difference A is true. B is not.

The American people get that difference?

WACHTER: I`m not sure and some of the messages that have been coming out of the federal government the last few days, I think are muddying it a little bit. It is raining Omicron. This this virus is so incredibly transmissible, that it is literally everywhere. And unless you are hiding under your kitchen table, you will be exposed to it. In San Francisco, which is the most highly vaccinated city in the country, our estimate is about one in 10 people walking around have it. So, you will be exposed to it.

I don`t believe that we will all get it. In fact, I`m quite sure that we won`t all get it. I`ve had my three shots, I`m going to do my darndest not to impart because I -- it`s highly likely that this surge is going to last a month or so and then come back down. That`s what happened in South Africa. It happened in London, it`s beginning to peak in New York and Washington and in Boston. So, it`s not a matter of being careful forever. I think we`re going to find ourselves in a very good place in February. But for the next few weeks, yes, there`s a ton of virus around. You will be exposed to it. But if you`re wearing an N95, you`re being careful, you`re being thoughtful about your exposures, I don`t think it`s inevitable that you will get it and I think some of the messages that have come out, I think maybe causing people to say why even try to prevent it anymore. I think that`s the wrong message. You, it is not inevitable that you will get it.

RUHLE: When you say you think we`ll be in a very good place in February, will that be February and going forward or February until the next variant hits?

WACHTER: Either A or B on that one. I think that, you know, I`m quite confident that February, March, April will be good that this peak will come -- we`ll hit a peak in the next week or two and we`ll come back down. And probably by mid-February, the number of cases around in cities and other areas in the United States will be quite low. And we`ll be left in a good place. Almost everyone will have some level of immunity for those of us who`ve gotten their shots will have it from the shots, some with breakthrough infections on top of that, and then the unvaccinated will get their immunity the hard way, that they made a bad decision, they will almost certainly they will get Omicron if they`re not being super careful.

And so, I think we`re going to find ourselves with a milder virus, with high level of population immunity and in pretty good, pretty good shape. how long that lasts is partly around, will there be a new variant that`s better at its job than Omicron? I doubt it. But I doubted that Omicron would happen. So, I think we have to be -- we have to just wait and see. And the other question is for the unvaccinated people that got their immunity from an infection, how long does that immunity last? And how robust is it? And at this point, Omicron is too new to know the answer to that. I`m guessing that it will last for several months. But I`m guessing it probably won`t last for several years. So, it`s possible that we`ll be in good shape, but then be vulnerable again, come next fall or next winter.

RUHLE: Well, before I let you go, I`ve got probably our most important question. How`s your son?

WACHTER: Thank you for asking. He`s fine. He still has a little bit of a sore throat and a cough. He is still testing positive on day seven. So, yet another uncertainty and conundrum. The CDC said at day five, it was OK for him to go out and go back to work. But he`s still testing positive today and I love him to pieces, but I wouldn`t want it to breathe on me. And so, he`s still waiting in isolation until that test turns negative.

RUHLE: All right. Dr. Bob, thank you for joining us. You definitely made us.

WACHTER: Thank you.

RUHLE: Smarter and safer tonight. Dr. Robert Wachter. I appreciate it.

WACHTER: I appreciate it.

RUHLE: Coming up, saying sorry might not be enough for the British Prime Minister. We`ll explain when the 11th Hour continues.




BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months. I know the rage. They feel with me with the government I lead when they think that in Downing Street itself, the rules are not being properly followed. To them and to this house, I offer my heartfelt apologies.


RUHLE: Prime Minister Boris Johnson today apologizing for attending a BYOB garden party while the U.K. was under a pandemic lockdown. Members of his own party now want him out over it. The event is one of several government gatherings now under internal investigation. NBC News Correspondent Matt Bradley with what`s next for the Prime Minister.

MATT BRADLEY, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Stephanie. Well, we got to hear from somewhat shaken, somewhat humbled looking Boris Johnson today in front of the parliament that building behind me. Now, of course, the Prime Minister was probably a bit confused as to why this particular incident has attracted so much outrage not just from the opposition Labor Party, but also from his own Tory party.

Now this isn`t just the first scandal that Boris Johnson has been through. This isn`t even the first parties during COVID scandal that Boris Johnson has been through. This is like the third or the fourth party that Boris Johnson has been accused of attending or organizing, as the rest of the country was locked down. And the media and even members of parliament were talking all day about those who lost loved ones, who died alone, weren`t able to attend their funerals, weren`t able to attend holidays and births. While those at number 10 Downing Street, partied away. And this has caused quite a bit of outrage.

I asked a political analyst here named Steven McCabe, why this moment is so critical. So, make or break for Boris Johnson. Here`s what he had to say.


BRADLEY: Is the Prime Minister now in the greatest political jeopardy that he has been since he became Prime Minister?

STEVEN MCCABE (ph): I think so, yes, I mean quite clear what we`re into and again as I said a couple of moments ago, I think that he has enemies that that is for sure. He`s lost close political alliances.


BRADLEY: And those enemies that Professor McCabe are talking about, they`re not just the opposition Labor Party. They`re also from within Boris Johnson`s own Tory or Conservative Party, there`s been rumblings of a mutiny from within his own ranks.

Now, that`s not that hard to do in Britain. Remember, the Prime Minister is not like the U.S. president, he doesn`t need to be impeached, in order to be removed, there doesn`t need to be a trial. They don`t need to wait until the end of his term, they can simply withdraw their support right now from within his own party a certain number about more than 50 of them would need to send a letter requesting this to put it on the table. And then after that, they would have a new prime minister. It really is quite that simple. So, the British Prime Minister needs to constantly watch his flank. And that`s why Boris Johnson is in such a critical position right now. Members of his own party want to see him go. They`re going to be joined by many, many members of the British public. The most recent polling shows that some two thirds about 66% of Britons will just see Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s back. Stephanie.

RUHLE: Wow, Matt Bradley, thank you for that report. COVID lockdown aside what I would like investigated, who decided to have a BYOB garden party? Here in luck 11TH HOUR is not over. Come right back. We`ve got more.



RUHLE: That`s our broadcast for this Wednesday night with our thanks for being with us. I`m going to head right back under this desk for a little nap. But I will be back right here at 9 a.m. Eastern tomorrow morning. And until then, on behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.